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8 violin clips for tone evaluation

Don Noon

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David, is it your job to tell Don what he NEEDS to do?

And no, "it means you need to educate your ear urgently." is NOT constructive ctriticism. It is destructive criticism.

Google the difference, you might learn some.


It is his job when Don asks for opinions and that was perfect example of constructive criticism. I enjoyed the test and find interesting that all pros I asked liked 2 and 7 with 345 in the middle of things. There is something to be learned here. I think there should be an agreed music sample for these sorts of tests on MN. Please make suggestions !

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You can not possible disagree with Stross in this. And you should not. The more a player drives and holds a violin to the limit , the less acess he has to the tonal variety. Pinchas is a great violin player but his constant tight tone does not let for a lot of sophistication. This style of playing had it's day but it is going out of fashion. I will say it is already out of fashion.


Completely agree.

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1.I too disagree with Carl's statement.  


2. It has been my experience in comparison testing that powerful players who push instruments to (or beyond) their capability will highlight what the instrument can and can not do.  Instruments played at a comfortable level sound much more the same to me.


3. At a minimum, I think a player like Pinky would create a much different ordering of preferences.  In my test, the least powerful instruments tended to be most preferred tonally.  My "good" instruments, intended as powerful soloist violins, would probably do far better with a player like Zukerman.


1. I'd disagree with myself, too. :)  My "opinion" comes from my background and my experiences and it's quite understandable that it won't apply to what you want to make or need to make in order to sell. I don't know what will sell around you and then it follows that I shouldn't give any advice. And I don't. :)


2. Makes sense. A powerful player will reach the limit of the violin quicker - that's quite right. But I am not sure the opinion of a "powerful player" matters beyond "powerful playing". Where I differ is when it comes to "instruments played at comfortable level". I have the exact opposite impression : I get more tonal info from that. This is simply an issue of focus. I focus on what I am interested in.


3. That is very true. Question is , will you sell to Pinky or to "Pinky sound alikes" ? Which one is your most probable market ? That's for you to decide.


I think overall it was a great test and am looking forward to more. And by the way, I still think 3 violins were the same one. :) :) :)  My only wish is for a different "song" - I liked more the previous one. 

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What does the angled fingerboard do?  Did it start out squared off?


It started normal, but thin.  Cutting some off was to test tuning B0 to A0, without losing access to high positions on the E string (in case any violinist ever needed to go there).

Result: nada.  But it looks kinda cool.


I'm more interested in the reason for the angled scroll. Can't believe I missed it the first time I looked at the picture.


That was a test of B-1 effects, or scroll mass effects.  I cut off the scroll to see what happened.  Not much... mostly a "feel" thing where there seemed to be more vibration in the neck.

I was going to glue the scroll back on, and noticed that the areas to be glued were almost square, therefore allowing 3 other positions to glue the scroll back.  180 degrees wouldn't be good to fit in a case, but 90 looked interesting.  It also allows for easier threading of the string into the A peg.

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Fun test!


#4- bright, strong, clear through all registers

#5- strong, reasonably clear, a bit strident

#6- a lot of edge, even

#1- no edge but clear

#7- shrill lower register

#3- uneven, especially the G string

#2- shrill lower register


I was pretty confident about picking #4.  I wonder if my preferences would line up if I played them myself.

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I didn't mind the firewood fiddle at all, but thought #1 and 2 sounded too honky and boomy on the G string for the mainstream classical violin market.


It could be interesting to evaluate the violins on a sone or phon basis (more an evaluation of perceived loudness  than measured sound pressure) to see if that reveals something that db measurements do not.


But maybe we're already doing that anyway, whenever we pick out which violin sounds the loudest to us.

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I picked the steel string silver winner.  Or else got lucky.  1:7 is good odds except in skydiving.  

But it was only because it somehow sounded more like an actual country fiddle performance than an experiment.  One of the fiddles sounded smoother than the others fwiw.  I thought #2 jumped out as honky the first time through but second listen I didn't hear it.

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I was really hoping they were all the same clip concatenated.  Hope I didn't give away the next experiment...

That thought crossed my mind but I could hear intonation issues from having to go from handle to handle, so no, unless an auto correct was used while processing.

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Well I think the thing to be learned from this, is, that if the test results were to translate to a real life test, if the fiddle had a normal scroll and perhaps a bit more care with the varnish so it would "blend in" with others


1. working fast without thinking, measuring "stuff", or paying attention to numbers yields the first pick fiddle, or at least it did this time


2. preconceived notions about "the numbers" and what they mean related to choice may be way off


3. that "decent" wood can be found anywhere as long as it is suitable structurally, size and isn't too far out related to weight or appearance.


I wouldn't suggest Don stop  testing things because it's his nature to do so, but I might speculate that it does take away from precious building time and quite frankly long ago I learned to "just do it" and just follow my instincts and build. To concede that there may be a "Secret", but that I don't think myself or anyone else will find it while they are looking for it. I feel the secret is to simply build as many as you can before you die, and that as important as "testing" and studying may be {however we could question that statement based on the fact that all this "study" has got no one closer to "it" conclusively, no easy repeatable method} personally I have found over time that it is a waste of time if the goal is to build as many good instruments as possible.

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